China bans French cheeses

Soft cheeses such as Roquefort are being blocked at Chinese ports

China has reportedly banned the import of soft French cheeses such as camembert, Roquefort and brie alleging concerns about ‘undesirable bacteria’.

Imports have been blocked for several days now – leading to French expats in China rushing to buy the last cheeses on the shelves.

One expat told France 2: “I’ve found out which ones you can freeze or not – and apparently you can freeze blue cheese and bries, so I’m stocking up.”

The chef of the Héritage Sofitel in Peking, told the TV channel: “All we have left is a Roquefort and a brie and a piece of camembert.

“We’re the only French hotel in Peking and people come to us to taste cheese, and there’s a risk they’re going to be disappointed to have a more limited cheese board in the next few weeks.”

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Commentators think the measure may be aimed at boosting the Chinese dairy industry.

However European milk industry experts say relatively little French cheese is sold to China and they hope things return to normal in a few weeks’ time.

Harder cheeses like comté or emmenthal are not affected.

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